Fiat Chrysler Automobiles and Renault are looking for ways to resuscitate their collapsed merger plan and secure the approval of the French carmaker's alliance partner Nissan, according to several sources close to the companies. Nissan is poised to urge Renault to significantly reduce its 43.4% stake in the Japanese company in return for supporting a FCA-Renault tie-up, two people with knowledge of its thinking also told Reuters. It is still far from clear whether any concerted effort to revive the complex and politically fraught deal can succeed. FCA Chairman John Elkann abruptly withdrew his $35 billion merger offer in the early hours of June 6 after the French government, Renault's biggest shareholder, blocked a vote by its board and demanded more time to win Nissan's backing. Nissan representatives had said they would abstain. The failure, which FCA and Renault blamed squarely on the French government, deprived both companies of an opportunity to create the world's third-biggest carmaker with 5 billion euros ($5.6 billion) in promised annual synergies. It also shone a harsh light on Renault's relations with Nissan, which have gone from frayed to fried since the November arrest of former alliance Chairman Carlos Ghosn, now awaiting trial in Japan on financial misconduct charges he denies.
(Reporting by Laurence Frost; Additional reporting by Norihiko Shirouzu in Beijing and Giulio Piovaccari in Milan; Editing by Richard Chang)
French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said France is ready to cut its stake in Renault in order to consolidate Renault's partnership with Nissan, Agence France Press (AFP) reports. Le Maire said Paris, which has a 15% stake in Renault, might consider reducing its stake, if it led to a "more solid" alliance between the Japanese and French firms, the French news agency reported, citing an interview with the minister. "We can reduce the state's stake in Renault's capital. This is not a problem as long as, at the end of the process, we have a more solid auto sector and a more solid alliance between the two great car manufacturers Nissan and Renault," he told AFP. Le Maire had earlier said the French government was open to tie-ups involving Renault as long as French industrial interests were protected, and would consider any Renault deal with Fiat Chrysler that respected the French firm's alliance with its Japanese partner Nissan. Fiat on Thursday abandoned its $35 billion merger offer for Renault, blaming French politics for scuttling what would have been a landmark deal to create the world's third-biggest automaker behind Japan's Toyota and Germany's Volkswagen. The French government had welcomed the merger plan, but overplayed its hand by pushing for a series of guarantees and concessions that eventually exhausted the patience of FCA, sources told Reuters. Renault and Nissan were not immediately available to respond to a request seeking comment. (Reporting by Mekhla Raina in Bengaluru; editing by Richard Pullin and Elaine Hardcastle)
Toshiba Corp. has taken back a majority stake in a joint chip production venture with Western Digital Corp. from its chip unit which the Japanese conglomerate plans to sell off, after the U.S. company took legal action last month to block the sale, sources close to the matter said Wednesday.
Toshiba retook the 50.1 percent stake in the joint venture that it transferred to Toshiba Memory Corp. after it was spun off from the parent company. Western Digital owns the remainder.
A couple of weeks ago it was reported that Toshiba had announced that they would be selling off their memory chip business. While it was unclear who would be buying the company (or a stake in it), names such as Amazon, Google, and Apple was tossed around. Now it seems that in a separate report from NHK and Reuters (via MacRumors), Apple is eyeing a 20% stake.
The report claims that Apple is apparently eyeing to own at least a 20% stake in Toshiba's memory business, if not greater, and that the company could spend billions of dollars in order to achieve that. The reason for not completely buying out the company is because there is concern by the Japanese government about a non-Japanese entity owning the company, which is why Apple plans for Toshiba to keep some shares so that there will be partial Japanese ownership.